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Plastic Bottles Make Great Mini-greenhouses!

Easy-peasy mini greenhouses! Source:

In spring, when trays of seedlings and cuttings start to fill our homes, transparent mini-greenhouses are ideal for covering the soon-to-be plants. They help create the famous “greenhouse effect” young plants so love, keeping both seedlings and cuttings in warmth and high humidity … just what they need for a good start in life. You can, of course, buy plastic domes specifically designed for this purpose: every garden center sells them, as do seed catalogs, but you may already have everything you need at home … in the form of plastic bottles: water bottles, juice bottles, soft drink bottles, etc.

If you cut a plastic bottle in half widthwise, you will get not one, but two mini-greenhouses: the base, inverted, and the top. (Yes, do leave the cap on: you’re striving for high humidity, after all!)

Small bottles, like individual portion water bottles, are fine for small pots. 2-liter bottles will cover larger ones. And you can find even larger bottles if you look a bit.

Note that these mini-greenhouses are only used for a short time, just to get seeds and cuttings stared. Once seedlings germinate and cuttings are rooted, you don’t need them anymore, as young plants have to adapt to real-life conditions, including less humid air. So the fact that these home-made coverings are not that tall is not a problem: you’ll have removed them long before the young plants reach their top.

Making the Cut

20180319B papersculputure,
You can cut the bottle with a knife or scissors. Source: papersculputure,

To cut a plastic bottle in two, use a sharp knife or utility knife (X-Acto) to pierce the initial hole. You can continue cutting all around the bottle with the same knife if you want, many people prefer finishing with scissors. They’re a little less hazardous for your fingers! Just experiment to find out what works best for you.

After use, clean your mini-greenhouses by wiping off any soil that sticks to them and stack them for use the following year.

Best of luck with all your seedlings and cuttings!20180319A

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Plastic Bottles Make Great Mini-greenhouses!

  1. We’ve used large juice bottles for small plants outdoors for years. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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